Sunday, February 26, 2012

Quesadillas (Salvadoran Savory-Sweet Cakelets)

I'm often a creature of habit. To an embarrassing degree. In theory I am in favor of change -- but when it affects the constants of my own life, I tend to reconsider. I get huge comfort from the familiar, sometimes even clinging to it when it's a bad idea (when I should, you know, select something more growth-inducing instead). But I try to shake out of my routine. And there's nothing like a good trip to do it.

At home, I often have trouble breaking out of my usual work-write-cook-sleep-insomnia regimen. But last weekend I traveled to the Bay Area to celebrate my birthday with dear friends, and remembered how much fun change can be (and how I can minimize my aaah-things-are-different anxiety with trusted companions and stiff cocktails). I traded in the wintery slog of Portland for breezy sunshine. I picked meyer lemons off the tree, lingered at a museum, hiked windy bluffs, had a frighteningly thorough scrub at a Korean spa, and ate out more in 5 days than I normally do in several months. It was great fun, all of it. And amidst the adventure, I did get in a bit of cooking. Including these quesadillas.

As befitting the new-experiences-of-vacation mindset, these are like nothing I've ever had before. They're undeniably rich, thanks to the butter and sour cream, but are also light, with a moist, short texture. They take savory cheese (we used a dry old wedge of romano), and put it in a lightly sweet context. And they are, hands down, my favorite snack to enjoy with a cup of coffee. Change, you are delicious.

Quesadillas (Salvadoran Savory-Sweet Cakelets)

via The Food52 Cookbook
yields 18 muffins

I'm normally a fan of hulkingly large muffin-topped muffins, but these are so rich that just a small one suffices (that said, I have eaten two in a sitting).

1 cup rice flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 pinch salt
1 cup butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup grated hard cheese, such as parmesan or romano
a few spoonfuls sesame seeds (these are optional, but add a nice nubbly counterpoint to the rich muffins)

Preheat the oven to 350, and grease 18 muffin cups.

Whisk together the rice flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, cream together the flour and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one by one, mixing until incorporated and scraping down the sides as needed. Add the sour cream and cheese, mix, and then add the rice flour mixture (since this is gluten-free, you don't have to worry about making the muffins tough). Pour mixture evenly into muffin cups, then top with the sesame seeds.

Bake until set and just beginning to color, ~15-20 minutes. Let cool, and then enjoy with a cup of tea or coffee.


  1. I dream about these little bits of heaven.

  2. So GOOD!!! Thank you for sharing with us. Hope you've recovered your epidermis by now...

  3. These are the best things in the world.